The Rhode Island Brigade: The New England Convention's Revolutionary War Army, 1776-1780

The Rhode Island Brigade:
The New England Convention’s Revolutionary War Army, 1776-1780
Charles H. Lewis

One of the early acts of defiance to British authority in the American colonies came in June 1772, and took place in Narragansett Bay. The evening of 9 June 1772, in retaliation for the seizure of American ships and cargo, a party of local Sons of Liberty from Providence swarmed over the HMS Gaspee, captured the crew and burned the ship. This act of rebel defiance set the stage for British reprisals in Rhode Island for the next three years, culminating in the British invasion of Newport in December 1776.

What happened next is the subject of this book. Troops from all over New England poured into Rhode Island to oppose the invasion of Newport and greater Aquidneck Island. One particular brigade, consisting of men who volunteered to serve, not just from Rhode Island, but from all the other New England states, led the effort to contain the British on Aquidneck Island. The extraordinary service of this brigade, commonly known as the Rhode Island Brigade, has been largely overlooked by history. This is its story.

More than a history of the Brigade as a whole, this book discusses the lives of the men and their experiences and the impact that the war had on their families and communities. The numerous biographical sketches of the Brigade’s soldiers and officers provide information later in life that add considerably to the story of the Brigade. This book also documents the many changes in leadership and personnel that occurred during the length of service of the Brigade. Illustrations, maps, a bibliography, and an index to full-names, ship names, places and subjects add to the value of this work.

2020, 6x9, paper, index, 408 pp